The power of a hand written note

“After ten years of word processing, I can’t even do hand writing anymore.” – Douglas Adams


Sometimes, it’s the personal touch that builds confidence, trust and respect.  By taking the time and effort to make a short hand written note, you are genuinely displaying a commitment to them that you care and value them.

In the ‘old days’ hand writing was the only option we had to send a note to someone but now, we all rely on email, text messaging, social posting, instant messaging, Twitter, etc.  BUT … the reality is that these digital methods are ‘light’ in value based on how easy, quick and simple they are.

When it comes to building relationships – this can be to make sales, nurture prospects, develop existing client relationships, etc – one process that can help you is the hand written note.

Think about receiving a good handful of post in the morning – there’s a mix of brown window envelopes (boo!), cellophane wrapped marketing materials, a bank statement, and a couple of hand written, plain white envelopes with a ‘proper stamp on’.  It would be normal that you anticipate the hand written ones the most and, depending on your mood, will open these first or last.  It’s rare to open them randomly, in and amongst the other mail.

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So options open to you to start incorporating hand written notes include:

The hand written envelope

If you want your note, leaflet or brochure to stand out, you must use a plain envelope and hand write the name and address.  As an aside, also remember not to skimp on the stamp – using a second class stamp only saves you a few pennies but makes you look like a skinflint!

The Post-it Note technique

When you’re sending a brochure or marketing material of some sort, rather than a formal letter, why not simple use a Post-it Note with a hand written comment – something like, “Hi Steve, I hope you’re well and that this is of interest to you? Best regards, Stewart”.  It genuinely only takes 1 minute to write a few of these but think about the impact felt by the recipient?

The ‘thank you’ card

Many of us will have childhood memories of having to hand write thank you cards after birthdays and Christmas – we were told that ‘Auntie Fiona’ would like it more!  Well, it was true and Auntie Fiona did enjoy receiving these notes – even if you didn’t enjoy writing them!  But, why not send ‘thank you’ notes in business?  Sending a thank you to someone is a powerful way of letting them know you appreciate them – for the support they’ve given you, for their help, for becoming a customer, for renewing a contract, for referring you to another prospect.

If you like, you can make the card itself ‘corporate’ by getting a nicely designed, branded and printed card produced … but a simple ‘thank you’ greetings card will cost less and will achieve the same boost to your relationship.

Within the card, it can literally be a one line note, “Hi Bob, I simply wanted to say thank you for your time and thoughts yesterday, Best regards, Stewart”, or you can spend an extra moment making the note even more personal and relevant.

The ‘bolt on’ note

Even if you are sending a pre-printed letter, why not add on a one line hand written note to personalise it and make it clear that you care about the message – this could be under your signature or perhaps alongside the address area?  However, if you’re only sending a handful of letters, consider whether it would be practical to hand write the letter completely – the effect would be amazing?

The compliment slip

An alternative version to above, if you need to use a fully printed letter, what about putting a compliment slip in with the mailing containing your thoughts or comments to add that personal touch.

The ‘pay up’ please!

Popping a tiny hand written note onto your invoices with your name and a smiley face is an effective mechanism to remind the recipient that your invoice has a person behind it – because they then personalise your invoice, they’re more likely to process it fairly rather than allowing it to stew in a letter tray for a while first.


Clearly, hand writing is a rare approach these days – yet, those willing to embrace it will reap the rewards.

One other thought to consider … we’ve also seen lots of good examples where you provide branded marketing material to your prospects or contact which prompts them to hand write something … a business card which includes an area to scribble notes or ‘where we met’ … a branded note pad or Post-it Note given away freely as a promotional item … competition entry forms where entrants have to write an idea or experience … feedback forms following a presentation or training session, etc.  If you’re going to do this, also think about getting some branded up pens for the purpose as people hold on to these and use them again and again.

Remember … there’s no such thing as a computer font that genuinely looks like it’s a hand written note – you can’t cheat this, it’s supposed to take time!

Blunt thinking on the power of the hand written note from Yorkshire Powerhouse
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